theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: The Gardens at Asia Society

The best part about the Asia Society Hong Kong Center experience (besides the exhibitions, events, Restaurant/Cafe, and Bookshop… which are all pretty great)… is the personally intimate mode of exploration. While it’s true one would think that anything that is “new” within Hong Kong’s Island has been discovered, especially for residents, walking through the Asia Society’s elegant zig-zagging garden compound on the lusciously green hills of Admiralty can definitely offer the visitor a sublime moment of surprise and introspection.

The line between urbanity and nature. The bridge offers a moment of both experiences.

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The building’s iconic pedestrian bridge is the defining piece of New York architects’ Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s (TWBTA) masterplan, and is pretty much a moment where one walks a fairly thin line between nature setback from it and the modern glass faced urbanity on the other side, seemingly encroaching what is left of the mountain little by little.

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Compared to other global architects who have built in China, the partnership that is Tod and Billie (as we used to call them in University), is a rare case in that they do not actively search for iconic commercial developer-led projects in this region nor the middle east like their contemporaries.

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In fact, for the Asia Society project in Hong Kong which opened just last year, the building is actually very un-China like since it is defined mostly by the need to preserve the landscape of the existing and mostly green site, and to adaptively re-use three existing structures built by the British military between the 1860s and the 1940s. This means, the building is devoid of any vertical iconic visibility like the works which now define Hong Kong by other name brand architects for example. And since its an institutional building, there are no dormitories, residents, shopping, or office spaces defining everything else which is close to the city center. In fact, programmatically, the Asia Society’s programme offerings, unique site within the green mountains, and architectural form that houses all of it, is pretty much fresh and new to almost anyone.

Reflecting back, the building becomes invisible to the view.

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There is a main building which houses lectures, dinners, exhibitions, and what not, but the best part of the whole center is really what is outside of it… the bridge and the rooftop gardens giving a very unique experience. From that vantage point and within the trees, one can observe and look back to the buildings of Hong Kong and the Victoria Habour beyond it.

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The pedestrian bridge was carefully planned in order to have the lightest possible footprint on the unique site. A small ravine bisects the site and translate to an beautiful reflecting pool sitting directly above on the roof top, which then becomes an incessant force as the water falls between the cracks below it.

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The sound of the water, the way the nature cushions the pathways, the integration of the old army barracks, and the sporadic pieces of large scale sculptures, really give hope to a well meaning and introspective modern cultural experience.

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This quiet approach to new culture, conceptualized in 2001, will most likely be the last of this we will see in this city for awhile, since the trend is now towards the spectacle, as is expected for new museums like M+ and the CPS: Central Police Station to come in the next few years.

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Designers, Tod and Billie, are known for their relationship to creation or discovery of new innovative materials. See moments of natural discoloration which occurs over time with the ‘Mist Green Marble’ used on the facade, from Shanxi China.

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Organic forms of the outdoor amphitheatre relate back to the topography of the site.

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Other moments we loved… this stair.

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This green fence.

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This ‘Sleeping Buddha’.

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The bisecting glass through nature.

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On the way back to the MTR from the Asia Society, don’t forget and stop by this 100 year old Banyan Tree. Which the developer of the complex has promised to preserve (as part of building/leasing rights to the land.) It’s actually a destination.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Asia Society Hong Kong Center . The Hong Kong Jockey Club Former Explosives Magazine, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong . T: +852-21039511 . Closed only on Mondays . Free Admission To The Gardens . Special Exhibitions 30HKD / DESIGN Tod Williams & Billie Tsien TWBTASTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Original Facebook Hong Kong Mural Artist Speaks Up

So… remember my “DESIGN NOTES” story in July, regarding a friend of mine, artist Peter Yuill and Facebook Hong Kong’s newest headquarters? 

Kowloon Building Mural at Facebook Headquarters (2014) / Caratoes

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Well for those who have already forgotten… we reported three months ago that a Peter Yuill-looking mural (assumption based on Peter Yuill’s past series of work, but not by Peter Yuill), popped up in one of Facebook’s breakout lounges. In my blog post then, I stated that, for all the money that Facebook makes from Hong Kong and China, the lest they can do is actually pay for the real Hong Kong artists to do their signature styles of Hong Kong within the tech company’s brand new Hong Kong Headquarters… you know, to show respect for community, context, and authenticity, as well as to be part of contemporary culture.

(And duh, they actually used these same images to market themselves the week they opened!)

Facebook Hong Kong Headquarters, Interior Shot.

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But instead of bringing those artists in, they put up works that “look like” works by the likes of Yuill (as i’ve stated), Pete Ross, and even deceased artists like King of Kowloon / Tsang Tsou Choi (even though there are many of his original works still available on sale… just look at BIBO restaurant, for example!)

Then I got an email… that same week. From a Hong Kong artist, who stated that my reporting was inaccurate and that in fact, Facebook Hong Kong DID hire a local Hong Kong artist to do all the murals on their wall. This artist’s name (ie. the person who emailed me) is Caratoes, also a contemporary of Peter Yuill’s. Her own work (that she’s more known for) of female figures in dream-like situations, is actually quite amazing. Caratoes is represented by some of the city’s best galleries, namely Above Second and Cat Street Gallery. I was and am still a fan. 

via Caratoes, on her Facebook Work (from her email to me wanting to clarify the situation - not an actual artist’s statement - which we have requested three months ago, and still waiting):

"About the (Kowloon Mural in Facebook Hong Kong), they had a last minute request to have a tribute and a story to old Kowloon corner buildings. (Which) you still see often in Kowloon.

To paint buildings or humans realistically in black ink (which is a medium I use 90% of the time) might end up looking similar. As the goal is to achieve likeness of what is real.  Just stating the obvious here.

As you know, for jobs like this, they ask around quite a few artists. One of them was Peter (Yuill) I found out later. It was their decision to go with whomever artist they think is suitable to execute their project and vision. I understand if you disagree. But that is your personal opinion.”

And there you have it.

The work at the Facebook Hong Kong Headquarters is indeed the work of a Local Hong Kong Artist, after all. Her name is Caratoes.

Just to remind you. Here are Peter Yuill’s architectural rendering works (of which he is known for.)image

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Now this is the work that Caratoes is known for (from her own website.)

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From Juxtapoz Magazine.

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This is a photo Caratoes sent to us of her her mural at Facebook Hong Kong.

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And as Caratoes stated above… Peter Yuill told me that he did indeed turn in sketches to Facebook Hong Kong to bid for the same project. Whether they’ve seen them or not, they’re not telling.

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In other news. THIS JUST HAPPENED in Shanghai.

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My favorite Thai Restaurant in Hong Kong, Chachawan, just got Chinafied (unofficially).  This week, according to the @ABOVESECOND instagram and Time Out Shanghai - a China copycat (also called Chachawan) just opened up.

Everything was copied (and very poorly) from the food to the Interior details… including the fabulous mural in the main dining room on ground floor.

The mural above is from Hong Kong’s original Chachawan, the mural below is from Shanghai’s copy Chachawan.

The artist who executed the original mural?

Well… it’s Caratoes.

ART Peter Yuill / ART Caratoes

JJ.

theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: Design Institute

Hong Kong’s latest architectural renaissance jump-started within the educational sector in 2010 with the iconic, Hong Kong Design Institute aka. the HKDI located in Tseung Kwan O.This highly original building was first conceptualized less than 10 years ago after it won first place in an ideas competition for the non-profit public school devoted to all things Design. Since it was built, construction of other design schools with similarly iconic avant-garde architectures in the city followed, all authored by award winning and globally recognized architects such as Daniel Libeskind for the Run Run Shaw Media Centre (2011) and Zaha Hadid for her “Innovation” Tower (2014) at CUHK’s Kowloon campus.

Pedestrians can access the vertical campus on many levels.

The difference between the Hadid and Libeskind campuses and the HKDI, is that HKDI’s winning architects don’t have the starchitect status nor long building history of the other two. Named CAAU (Codelfy & Associes Architectes Urbanistes), the Lille and Paris, France based studios, have basically hit jackpot with this winning project. At 42,000m2 large, HKDI is the first ever completed building within their company portfolio, and it’s a beautiful and thoughtful one at that… everything works spatially and volume-wise, with no gimmicky forms or odd cheap finishes.

And after walking around the school’s site two weeks ago, I was completely convinced that CAAU could not have done a better job with the HKDI, which is a feat in itself considering Hong Kong’s complicated construction process (especially with all the permits to build anything a-traditional here.)

Internal streets on many levels connect the building with surrounding environments.

HKDI, which can house up to 4,000 students, is most notable for its four tree-tower trunks clad in a lattice steel diamond shaped-structure holding up an awe-inspiring glass box raised 7-storeys high. Dubbed the “White Sheet”, the architects saw this sheet as a “metaphorical presentation of creativity”, floating in air, connecting all other parts of the campus’ multidisciplinary functions, many meters above ground.

The glass box above is the metaphorical ‘White Sheet’ of Creativity. Photographed by Lightseed Studio.

The otherwise flat site, has been made more dynamic with all auditoriums, dining, and gallery functions placed within an artificial plinth on the ground, sandwiching the towers housing the classrooms, with the glass box on top holding other shared functions like study areas and the main library (with a view.)

Towers clad in lattice steel structure.

From a detail standpoint, this building is far superior structurally, materially, and finishes-wise, than the other buildings in Hong Kong of its ilk by far more seasoned architects. The 60m long escalator which takes students from ground level to the glass box, works well enough exactly how it was intended to work, and the external lattice structure which was constructed on site (not-prefabricated at all) is the the building’s overall design signature which looks neat with no water rust on the paint and with very clean joint details amongst all its structural parts. It still looks new after so many years.

While CAAU was the design architect, the project was made possible with collaboration with P&T Group, the local architects who designed our last Architectural tour stop, The Velodrome. Ove Arup Hong Kong is the project’s structural engineering team (also same with the Velodrome). The HKDI was first established in 2002, and houses departments for Design, Fashion/Textile, Printing/ Digital Media, and Multimedia + Internet Technology.

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Glass canopy brings light in while protecting interior open spaces from the elements.

Latticework structure of the HKDI built on site looks as good as new.

There are very elegant moments here when the tree trunk goes beyond the glass box above. (It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t.)

So many sublime moments to connect and contemplate.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Hong Kong Design Institute was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Simon Holloway Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Design Institute . 3 King Ling Road, Tseung Kwan O, NT HK . Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station Exit A2 . T: +852-39282994 / DESIGN CAAU Codelfy & Associates Architects Urban Planners / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

Seen&Scene: Weekend Design and Food at the PMQ

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I haven’t really written much about the PMQ 元創方 (aka Police Married Quarters), since the building opened its doors to the public during Art Basel Hong Kong this past May. You can read about the building’s history at the Discover Hong Kong website, but in short the building that stands is the remnant structure that was the site of the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, the first dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers and their family members… an attractive staff benefit to recruit new police officers. These days the building, which originally housed 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms, is now a heritage site as well as a designers hub / shopping mall for independent labels and shops from Hong Kong and importers based in Hong Kong. 

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Anyway, i’ve only written about the PMQ in context of other stories, like when I wrote about Isono/Vasco, Aberdeen Street Social, and Kapok. The reason why I haven’t really focused on PMQ itself is because I’m doing a wait-and-see approach on this project, or at least until the building/mall can stand on both feet with full tenant occupancy. I think 6 months into it, PMQ is definitely not bad. There were some hiccups (ie. 1600 Pandas filling the plaza, which was just horrid) but everything else is alright actually. In the end of the day, the city of Hong Kong, is better to have a “design-focused-hub” than not. Even though some designers who i’m personal friends with can’t afford a unit here, in a way they still partner with some other tenants to allow their goods to be sold here. And I don’t know about the selection process for an “X” amount of units, but I do believe that some curation and rent-price level is needed or else the there would be a wider and more random range of tenancies here than what already exists right now. (For example, some tenant spaces are fully and glamorously designed and fitted out, while the tenant adjacent would basically have an empty non-designed storehouse for product. All over the place.)

A good thing I just witnessed this Sunday, however, is a new initiative dubbed Design Market @ PMQ, an opportunity for those designers who can’t afford an actual space here, to be showcased at the PMQ’s public plaza on a Sunday. More than just a handful of designers touting womenswear and menswear are on display here with their pop-up booth and it’s excellent.  There are some good finds I want to highlight… mainly the new accessories brand, North & Sparrow designed by a Brit graphic designer, named Andy Clarke, who lives in Hong Kong. We will be interviewing him soon. I believe he just showed up recently at The Hub HK and BluePrint Singapore.

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Another cool thing I saw was this old school Heritage high-end menswear bag label, called Leon Flam. Not many people know about it just yet, but it’s distribution is mostly in France.

I really like the helmet bags.

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Noted it’s not a Hong Kong-based independent brand. But without the PMQ, importers would have to rely on big department stores like Lane Crawford or Harvey Nichols to get some visible representation here. And I think the non-Lane Crawford route is a good win for consumers who are looking for more variety.

The Hong Kong based gift box company, Babaobox, was also here at the PMQ. Theirs is a curated gift box with real design and art products by actual art and design practitioners based in Hong Kong. For example if you get Babaobox Edition 1, you get original work and products from Michael Leung and Wilton Ip / Artonomos. Edition 2, titled “Obsessions”, gets you original art (a rug with rabbit poo and piss print) by highly celebrated artist, Adrian Wong and his wife, a textile seamstress, Samantha Reid. The box itself can be made into a sculptural object using tools provided by its designers, architects Marisa Yiu and Eric Shuldenfrei of ESKYIU.

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Not a bad gift for yourself or for someone else for 999HKD! I mean… Original Art and Design, people! A collectible!

After the PMQ we headed up next door to say hi to my friend, Chef Mai Chow, at her SUPER FAMOUS and SUPER DELICIOUS bao stand, Little Bao.

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She and her partner, Samantha Wong, from Little Square Street, were hosting a full on event for VANS (the shoes), with a block party, and a limited day-only menu which consisted of a 3-blend Angus Beef Bao Burger, Mirin Caramel Fires with sprinkles of furikake, and a delicious PBJ Ice Cream Bao (with Szechuan Strawberry Sauce.)

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I mean…like what else can I say? Nothing. It’s sublime food.

Met up with amazing friends, Thierry, the feng shui master (who found a fry with a letter “J” on it.)

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Gal pals; Nguyen Thi, MISCHA’s designer Michelle, and Candace Campos ie. Interior Design queen.

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And this fashion family, Thierry, an expectant mom Ingrid, and Charlotte, a blog stylista plus app developer of the super successful SPOTTLY app (which will be debuting in two weeks for Android, yay.)

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To finish the day, a few of us went to PMQ’s Aberdeen Street Social for a sunset sundowner, namely to drink a spicy Whisky based cocktail. Delicious. (That’s an Adrian Wong piece in the back… the barber parlor lights.)

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PMQ, and surrounding businesses… lots to offer for those looking for style and design from independent business owners with a cup of coffee a good bao in Hong Kong.

VISIT Design Market @ PMQ . Corner of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong  / CARRY North & Sparrow / CARRY Leon Flam / GIFT Babaobox / EAT Little Bao . 66 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-21940202 . No Reservation  / DRINK Aberdeen Street Social . PMQ, GF, JPC, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-28660300

JJ.

#theWanderlist: Thomas Heatherwick’s Pacific Place

When people think of Design & Architecture in Hong Kong, they immediately think of large scale obvious works which define the overall city skyline… (ie. IM Pei’s Bank of China Tower, Sir Norman Foster’s HSBC Building, or twin towers… IFC or ICC) but which don’t really contribute much to our everyday lives beyond being a pretty object in the distance, unless you work there. Understandably, Hong Kong, one of the world’s top financial hubs, is built on the shoulders of banking sectors, which explains the reliance towards visible and skyline oriented iconic towers, developers are used to here. But unfortunately, the problem with contemporary architecture in Hong Kong is that the innovative, new, and cool buildings that #Archinerds like myself drool over don’t necessarily touch a vast majority of people on a human scale from day to day because high-design usually ends up becoming tall office towers not that well integrated on an urban level.

Hong Kong’s Swire Properties, a relatively boutique (but huge) development firm incorporated in the 70s, has within the last few years, made some odd-ball moves against the grain of how developers are integrating innovative architecture & design projects in the city which people can directly experience. Strategies for their projects are not usually centered around the biggest and brightest and whatever can be seen from Victoria Harbour, but how their design projects can help us rethink about “new” design on an approachable human scale rather an urban one.

Some of Swire’s bold moves include hiring not-so-cheap starchitects, like California’s Frank Gehry, to create signature buildings of new sculptural styles, such as one called the Opus, a feat relative to what’s buildable here within local building constraints.  While The Opus, IS as far-removed urbanistically as the other show-towers in Central Hong Kong, it’s made the developer move towards creating more fluid shaped and less boxy living spaces overall, thus affecting the thinking in design for their other property projects like the newly opened Argenta Tower by LWK & Partners or Mount Parker by DLN, for example.

Another odd-ball but sublime choice by SWIRE, is the UK’s Thomas Heatherwick, who had been hired for upgrading of the iconic Pacific Place shopping mall. This is another against-the-grain choice, because Heatherwick himself is not an architect, but a product designer and artist who’s made a name out of his sculptural urban artworks.

Thomas Heatherwick’s stone-cladfacade for the Upper House at Pacific Place.

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At Heatherwick Studio, a company Thomas Heatherwick founded in 1994, the designer employs a collaborative team of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and product specialists, focused on projects interested in human-scale form-making, an aspect of his studio which Heatherwick takes pride in. Working in conservative UK, gives Heatherwick an edge in dealing with projects like Pacific Place, especially in constraint-heavy Hong Kong.

Curved glass and hardwood, rare high-design applications by Thomas Heatherwick utilised in Pacific Place retail corridor.

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Materiality is very important to Heatherwick, who has applied architectural flourishes like “Elm” Veneer Wood on ceiling surfaces, “ASH” solid wood on balustrade rails” to formulate a human scale natural, warmer, and softer, palette.

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Every toilet stall is a throne, made by Heatherwick’s voluptuous forms at Pacific Place.

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Pacific Place, which officially unveiled its new design in 2011 to the public, gave Heatherwick an opportunity to let loose his wonderful sculptural tactics towards the pragmatic world of Mall planning. The good thing about all this is, that we normal people get to enjoy high-brow and high-quality design, estimated at HK$1.5 billion, for free just by visiting or shopping there. The challenge here, which Heatherwick revels in, is to make any programme seem like a design opportunity, making the project work even better than it has worked before. (See his work here for a pedestrian bridge, a stool, a bus, and stairs.)

As I #Wanderlist the mall, I get a photograph taken with my favourite Heatherwick feature, this “corset” light fixture at the Garden Court.

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NEXT: Where to go and what to visit? Check out our Pacific Place #Wanderlist on the following link

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#theWanderlist: Heirloom Flavours in Manila Ancestral Home

I was looking through my iPhoto pictures today, and found these snapshots from my last working visit to Manila. Me and friends of mine went to have a nice private and quiet dinner at my favorite destination for classic and authentic Filipino fare at La Cocina de Tita Moning (Aunt Moning’s Kitchen), located in the Legarda Ancestral Home which is within the Presidential Palace Grounds.

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The kitchen has actually been in operation since 2001 so it’s nothing new, but everytime I go to the Legarda Home for dinner, everyone that eats there are local Manilenos, which is great since it’s good enough for the Filipinos, but never a destination for tourists and visitors. By placing it on this blog, I hope that more visitors to Manila can give it a try because not only is it not “sceney” (reservations have to be made in advance), but the heirloom recipes of by the family’s matriarch, Dona Romano Hernandez and brought to life by her granddaughter, Chef Suzette Montinola… are actually worth the urban journey. I call it a “journey”, because the house is located within the Palace grounds in old Manila (which has a military secured gate) and within a residential neighborhood at that, I assume most people will be coming from Makati or Alabang which is half an hour to an hour away.

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But at arrival, guests are ushered to the garden to have a welcome drink under tree lights made of Capiz shells. On a nice balmy yet windy evening, like ours last month, a quick drink and smoke here is an instant stress reliever. Nothing has changed since the house was made into a restaurant more than ten years ago. The trees around the back garden are decades old, and much of the back garden are covered by branches creating an intimate canopy. Since the house was built in the late 1930’s, the home, one of the first Art Deco structures in country, has undergone several iterations and updates… so while the main house works like a fusion Colonial-Filipino-Spanish home from a planning perspective, the house’s facade plays with Art Deco details, and the back garden, may be the newest extension and represents a chic-ly sixties/seventies mod leisure lifestyle… which is just fabulous.

De-compressing at the Legarda’s garden.

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Some drinks before dinner.

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Inside guests are allowed to walk into the patriarch, Dr. Alejandro Legarda’s, Library, Clinic (he was a famous OBGYN), Camera Equipment Room, and Antiques Radio Equipment Room, where he spent much of his time meeting people around the world as an amateur radio operator (this was pre twitter and facebook, people.) 

Intimate items once owned by the Doctor.

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Other items from the family’s past.

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What I loved about this house was that the whole family came together and decided to preserve not only the house’s architecture, but their family’s legacy and history by creating a museum of all the home’s spaces and items, and establish a restaurant of the family’s heirloom dishes. In addition, the family has decided together to create jobs for the home’s long time servants and drivers by allowing them to basically run and operate the restaurant and to serve visitors the dishes that the family was served themselves in this house. These days once the matriarch and patriarch passes away, the kids just can’t wait to divvy up the spoils, and then there goes the family legacy… so this kind of preservation is rare.

Beef Kare Kare with Shrimp Paste.

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A taste of the family’s Chicken Relleno.

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Refreshing desserts straight out of the history books.

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The food is fantastic and you can basically tailor-make a menu with the restaurant’s booking officer before you get there… whether you want the best Chef created menu, or if you have preferential dishes, or wanting something towards vegetarian or seafood fare… it’s all possible. Support the Legarda Home when in the city. It’s a great design and culinary destination, I strongly recommend.

My friends were certainly impressed.

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EAT La Cocina de Tita Moning . 315 San Rafael Street, San Miguel District, Manila . T: +632-7342146 . Reserve Here

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Restaurant in Historic Building, A Must-See Style Destination

Aberdeen Street Social may have been operating for a few months now, but I bet you haven’t seen photos like these of the new Restaurant/Cafe/Bar’s design concept by award-winning, Shanghai based, Neri & Hu Design Research Office. The just-released images of the restaurant’s interiors reflect the unique collaboration between the designers, Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu, with the restaurant’s founder, Yenn Wong, with Michelin-rated star, Chef Jason Atherton. To add more creativity to the mix, the whole bar/restaurant is situated in a re-appropriated historic building which used to house the Junior Police Clubhouse and Junior School within the just opened, Police Married Quarters (PMQ) Design complex. Plus at the Cafe’s entrance on ground floor, guests won’t miss a fantastic new interactive art piece, by 2014 Sovereign Asian Art Prize winner, Adrian Wong, of a series of octagonal barber shop poles on a clover mosaic, pieces which are reclaimed from a residence within the PMQ itself.

The concept for the interiors and the restaurant is all about creating an inclusive environment of convivial social get-togethers over meals, cocktails, and dessert. The ground floor is defined by its large bar and cake display, plus two rows of tables for groups of any size, while the dining room upstairs is for more intimate experiences, with all tables enhanced by bespoke pendant lamps. An outdoor patio, a room length balcony, and a garden terrace framing the property allows guests to stretch out within this special urban oasis.

To complete the social experience, the Managers are outfitted in Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers, a line designed especially by award-winning designer, Thom Browne.

via Lyndon Neri, principal designer:

"We decided to rejuvenate the convivial spirit within the ancillary building of what was once the Junior Police Clubhouse (JPC) and Junior school at PMQ by creating an ambient atmosphere to encourage creative minds to gather and interact with each other."

This isn’t the first time Neri & Hu has worked with Yenn Wong, check out their other collaborative projects here.

EAT Aberdeen Street Social . JPC, GF 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong (entrance at Hollywood Road intersection of Aberdeen Street) . T: +852.28660300 . Reservations are necessary / DESIGN Neri & Hu

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES:  Your Own Working Loft Space In Chai Wan, Finally

With more and more creative start ups, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and freelancers in the city, investors in Hong Kong are finally giving some of these non-corporate dreamers a stab at an atypical non-corporate kind of working environment to cater to this niche, but steadily growing market of self employed heroes. In the last few years we’ve seen spaces like The Hive, Regus, or Garage pop up in Central… but sometimes even then, these things get too crowded or too corporate.

That said some of us have friends who work in these big loft spaces in Chai Wan or Wong Chuk Hang, and are completely envious of their free-wheeling artsy lives. Well envy no more… now launched in Chai Wan is a new “New York like” decorated loft space about 3000 square foot large designed just for future-space-starved-free-wheelers. Puerta del Sol, as it is called, co founded by Harold de Puymorin with two other partners, aims to offer a new kind of hot desk venue, that allows community engagement plus admin services to anybody in need of such a space.

Designers, Artists, Architects, Photographers, Writers, PR gurus, heck even accountants, are all welcome here. Plus Puerta del Sol can aid members with Business Registrations, VISAs, marketing, legal, and accounting services. Anyway to lift freelancers of the ground… which is great for a whopping 1,888 HKD a month of membership don’t you think?

"Open Hearts, Open Minds" is the Puerta del Sol motto… I care more about "Open Space" and "Open Community", and in Hong Kong where that’s hardly on offer, hopefully the "scene" proposed at Puerta del Sol is the answer we’ve all been looking for.

Plus the loft’s design looks completely amazing.

VISIT Puerta del Sol Hong Kong . Reality Tower, 4 Sun On Street, Unit 8 D, Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: A Compact Cafe, Nespresso Wins Red Dot Award

In my house, like the bachelor that I am, I can make you anything you want… as long as it’s whisky straight up or coffee. That’s it. (Well I just added Protein shakes to the menu. If you’re into that kind of thing.) For Whisky, I can give you scotch or something from Japan. For coffee, it’s an Illy Espresso, beans from a plunger, or my personal favorite… a Livanto, Carmelito, Vanilio, or Arpeggio blend from Nespresso.

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I’ve been a big fan of Nespresso since the product became more global in the early 2000’s. (The first patent for the machine was in 1996, while the Nespresso system itself was invented in 1976?!!?) I’ve had a few of their machines in the last decade. We even have one in my design office.

Anyway, this July, Nespresso Hong Kong sent me a surprise gift, a whopping brand new Nespresso Inissia machine with an accompanying Aeroccino milk frother in black. Pretty cool. In addition they sent me a box of  almost each of the 22 Grand Crus in their current library. For those who are not in Nespresso, there maybe a chance you’ve just had a Grand Cru flavour that just didn’t taste right for you. For example, hotels with machines usually carry the Fortissio Lungo, Ristretto, Decaffeinato, Indriya from India, or Cosi… all the flavours I do not like, is too bitter, or is too bland…. in my personal opinion. If it wasn’t for this box of samples, I wouldn’t have been able to discover new flavours beyond the Arpeggio, Kazaar, Capriccio, or Roma, which I drink. If you’re confused by all these names, dont be… the best thing to do if you’re curious about Nespresso, is to A) go to the new Flagship store in the IFC everyday and get free samples at the Espresso bar (I dare you), or B), buy a box of samples from Nespresso and write a little note, like I do, after you taste each one to rate / discover your favourite ones. (Obviously i’m obsessed.)

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Other things to note… the new Inissia machine now available in Hong Kong and Asia, is the recipient of the prestigious annual Red Dot Award 2014 for best Product Design. The machine, designed by Antoine Cahen’s Les Atelier du Nord from Switzerland, is apparently a result of designers and engineers working together in close cooperation. This featherweight machine is very light and compact, the base only measuring 23x12 CM. The design is also focused on ergonomics and user interface. The handle opens and closes the machine, and one two buttons press for two different quantities of coffee, simple as that. The Jury prized the Inissia for reducing the machine to base essentials of use, and it’s small compact size makes it ideal for small kitchens… including those we are used to in Hong Kong.

You can actually play with the machine at the newly opened flagship in the IFC mall in Central Hong Kong. In addition, the IFC has various models of the Inissia in various colours.

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Also the IFC Flagship for Nespresso can teach you how to make simple coffees, to more complex drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, caramel macchiatos, and even their 2014 summer drinks like the “Tropical Mango Coffee”.

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That said i’d like to note that NOT EVERYONE IS A FAN OF NESPRESSO because of its potential contribution to waste (as with all other cartridge-based consumer product out there).

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This BUZZFEED article that an angry friend sent me pretty much outlines why people refuse to have this or other coffee-pod machines at home. This article from “Zero Waste Europe” is better at explaining what is going on with capsule waste, coffee’s organic waste, and the environment. I suggest you read these articles too if you plan on being a responsible owner of a Nespresso Machine.  

Nespresso is not for everyone, but I like it… and that said, it’s my responsibility as a consumer to make sure I dispose of these capsules, as much as i take care in recycling my waste papers and plastics at home and work. Online there’s more information from Nespresso about their collection and recycling methods per region, and at the store there’s a big BIG area all about capsule waste issues and a collection area for your used capsules, plus capsule bags for you to take home. Make sure to store all  your used capsules in these bags in your fridge to keep the whole thing from getting overly moldy.

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I guess I want to re-iterate… if you buy a Nespresso machine because like me, you like it so much… or drive a car, or own a dog, or purchase a house, or drink from water bottles daily, or take lots flights… be a responsible owner, and think of your waste, your carbon foot print, your plants, pets, and everything else. Just use common sense, and think of recycling your used pods.

Back to the Nespresso flagship… in a way, the IFC Flagship store is a design haven for the brand. On offer are all the different types of Nespresso machines, including the higher end machinew with more vintage looks.

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Also on offer for fans are cups, glasses, and Travel mugs.

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It’s Delicious. But Drink Responsibly. Recycle Them!

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VISIT Nespresso IFC Mall . Shop 1058, Podium 1, ifc Mall, HK Central / DESIGN Les Ateliers du Nord  

JJ.

#theWanderlist: F11 Photographic Museum Opens in Happy Valley, Housed in Restored Art Deco Structure

Here’s something new in the neighborhood, the F11 Photographic Museum located in Happy Valley Hong Kong will mark its official opening with a Best in Show exhibition by legendary American photographer, Elliott Erwitt, who will himself attend the museum’s launch on September 18th. Erwitt is expected to sign copies of his latest book, Regarding Women that same week.

Best in Show is curated by the museum’s owner, Douglas So who is a former corporate lawyer and philanthropist, and photography expert, India Dhargalkar, and will feature over 50 original photographs from Erwitt’s collection.

“Our vision for F11 Photographic Museum is to generate interest in photography and an appreciation for the art form,” explains So. “We do this through our curated collection of rare cameras, books and prints. In choosing to house the museum in a Grade III historic building, we also hope to encourage more private conservation and revitalisation of Hong Kong’s heritage properties.”

The new museum occupies a three-storey Art Deco ex-residential building, newly restored in the neighborhood’s Yuk Sau Street. The ground and first floors are expected to house exhibitions, while the second floor will be a private museum to showcase… a VAST DISPLAY OF LEICA CAMERAS, including a Model A Anastigmat from 1925… which was the first year Leitz sold cameras to the public. The upper level of the museum will be home to over 1000 titles from the Magnum Book collection, including many rare and first signed editions and maquettes… available to the public for research purposes.

VISIT Elliott Erwitt’s ‘Best In Show’ Exhibition at the  F11 Photographic Museum 18 September to 30 November . 11 Yuk Sau Street, Happy Valley, Hong Kong . T: +852-65161122 

JJ.